World Bank helps Sarena Hotels to obtain global business certification for gender equality

ISLAMABAD: International Finance Commission (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with one of the largest hotel chains in South Asia, Serena Hotels Pakistan, to help it become the first company in Pakistan to obtain the leading global assessment and business certification for gender equality—EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality), a press release said on Tuesday.

Currently, in Pakistan, only about one in four women work and just 7 percent of the country’s workforce is female.

The certification evaluates companies’ workplace gender equality performance against global and industry benchmarks, helping them become a gender equal environment to work in, invest in, and do business with. EDGE currently works with nearly 200 organizations in 50 countries and 23 industries.

“Our collaboration with IFC on gender-smart initiatives will allow us to help our women Associates, while benefiting from attracting and utilizing their talent in our Company. Most importantly, it will allow us to further improve the workplace where all Associates are viewed as equal, so that we have a more productive, engaged, loyal, and skilled team. Gender equality is a win-win for both our Associates and business,” said Aziz Boolani, CEO of Serena Hotels in Pakistan.

Headquartered in Islamabad, Serena Hotels Pakistan, a recipient of “Employer of Choice for Gender Balance-2018” employs 12 percent women in a workforce of 1,900.

Through the EDGE gender assessment process and with support from IFC, the group aims to further enhance gender balance by creating more opportunities for women’s employment, capacity building of high-potential women Associates to leadership training and skill development of women at community level for entrepreneurship.

“There’s no doubt that companies can deliver greater business impact and be more competitive by fostering an equitable and inclusive workplace for women and men,” said Nadeem Siddiqui, IFC’s Senior Country Manager in Pakistan.

“We hope more companies in Pakistan will discover the strength of the business case for greater gender equality in the workplace.”

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